Miller scored 27 of his season-high 36 points in the second half, leading the Pacers to a 95-87 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
The 39-year-old Miller score more than 30 points for the third time this season and had his highest scoring game since pouring in 41 against Milwaukee in November 2000.
“Things started to flow for me in the second half,” Miller said. “They set good screens, and the rest was up to me to make the shots. We need the win more than anything. It’s good to get out there and get a few looks and run some of the old plays and just have fun.”
Miller’s timely scoring had fans at Conseco Fieldhouse chanting “Reggie!”
“This city has really backed myself and my family,” Miller said of the crowd support. “We’ve had a great relationship.”
Miller’s offense was especially important for Indiana as All-Star Jermaine O’Neal struggled to score for a third straight game. O’Neal, who went scoreless in the first half, finished with 10 points on 4-of-19 shooting.
“We just rode him because he’s capable of piling up those kinds of points in those kinds of stretches,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “We were struggling to score all night long, and he really lifted us up.”
“Reggie was feeling it tonight,” said Portland’s Nick Van Excel, who finished with 16 points and four assists. “Jermaine struggled and they needed a lift from somebody. He pulled them through.”
After scoring nine points in the first half, Miller had 15 points in the third quarter, including 10 straight points during a 14-6 run, which gave Indiana a 57-48 lead midway through the quarter.
The Trail Blazers used an eight-point run at the start of the fourth quarter to close within 71-70. But Miller scored four consecutive points to push the lead back to five with 4:31 left. He also hit eight free throws in the final 40 seconds to seal the victory.
“Obviously tonight, the difference was Reggie Miller,” Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said. “Doing things only Reggie can do, he really got their offense started.”
Joel Przybilla had another big night for Portland, finishing with 18 points and 17 rebounds. He is averaging 17 points and 15 rebounds over his last three games.
Both teams shot poorly to start the game. The Pacers were 7-of-25 in the first quarter, and Portland shot 7-of-18.
Despite shooting 28 percent, Indiana managed to take a 19-18 lead after four straight points from Jones to close out the opening quarter.
The two teams battled back-and-forth in the second quarter, with eight lead changes and three ties, before Indiana grabbed a 43-40 lead at the break.
O’Neal picked up his 1,000th career blocked shot in the first quarter. … After hitting his first two free throws, Damon Stoudamire missed his third attempt, snapping a Portland record of 57 straight makes. … Trail Blazers forward Zach Randolph missed his second straight game with a sore right knee. … Patterson and Foster had to be restrained by teammates in the fourth quarter after Patterson took a hard foul from Foster. Patterson got a technical foul for throwing the ball at Foster. … Indiana won for the third time in its last four games heading into the All-Star break.